I hesitated a bit about writing this blog, in the spirit of “if you can’t say something nice…”. And we all know that when someone says “no offense, but…” the rest of the statement is likely going to offend. But I’ll take my chances here, and start off by saying I really DON’T want to offend, and the following opinion is just that- my opinion. As for the individual gents from Arista who presented at Mobility Field Day 8, you won’t find nicer folks. Jatin Parekh, Kumar Narayanan, Nadeem Akhtar, Pramod Badjate, and Sriram Venkiteswaran are obviously extremely intelligent and also passionate in their presentations. They collectively bring great credit to the House of Arista.
Now on to my frustration (did I mention that I am well aware that this is just MY OWN opinion?). Funny things happen to the time-space continuum when you are involved with a technical presentation. As a presenter, there often isn’t enough time to say and show everything you’d like to. As a consumer of the content on the other side of the table, time sometimes flies by because you are so engrossed in what’s being presented, and hours feel like minutes that you don’t want to end. Other times minutes feel like someone stretched each one by a factor of 10X as you try to not drift off to your happy place to escape the presentation that can’t end soon enough. Unfortunately, I was really struggling to stay locked on to Arista on this go round.
What happened for me here?
I’m fortunate in that I’m a many-time Field Day delegate who gets to occasionally hang out with the very women and men who define and shape the networking industry. That is truly a gift. The other side of that privilege is that sometimes a given vendor’s latest presentation can sound and feel a lot like the last one, if you have done a number of Field Days. That is not the vendor’s fault, but it is where I found myself on this outing.
Even though many of the words and topics were different than my last go round hearing Arista present at a wireless or mobility Field Day event, the vibe was the same. To me, it felt a mile wide and an inch deep for the most part. There was waaaaaaaay too much about Cognitive Everything and just not enough on the topic of wireless. I’m probably guilty of assuming I’d hear mostly about wireless-specific topics, but by the time we finally got there I was fairly done in. I found myself thinking the following random thoughts:
- Arista bought Mojo, and Mojo was AirTight before that
- I have yet to meet anyone who ran AirTight or Mojo wireless, and still have yet to meet an actual Arista wireless user (Arista data center networking is a whole different story)
- Often, Arista refers to a giant wireless environment in India as did Mojo, but that’s hard to get energized about given the previous bullet
- Arista isn’t the only Mobility Field Day vendor to do the “Let’s introduce the whole freakin portfolio and all of our marketspeak, and if you’re still awake at the end we’ll touch on a little bit of wireless” approach, but I was primed for differentiators. Like what is truly compelling about the mobility side of the Arista house these days?
- Can I use Arista wireless if I don’t have Arista switches and don’t want to do VXLAN? If so, how?
- Too much dashboard talk is smothering, I tellya
- Come on…. where’s the radio stuff? Where’s 6E?
- Where are your real-life WLAN-specific success stories?
You get the point- I personally didn’t get much out of it. As people we’re all wired differently, and I’m guessing some of my fellow delegates maybe have a different take on the MFD8 Arista presentations. But for me, I just could not get into it. Yet I know that Arista HAS to be doing cool wireless stuff where the rubber meets the road- where real wireless devices connect to the network and no one gives two figs about Cognitive Whatever.
I very much want to see Arista back at future Field Days whether I’m a delegate or watching at home, but I’d also like to see them shake up their formula a bit. Put more Mobility in your Mobility Field Day presentations, says I.
Reading this, I feel a bit like a jerk having written it. So be it- I mean it constructively and I stand behind it.